Dale McLaughlan, 28, was jailed for four weeks for travelling 27 miles across the Irish Sea to meet his partner Jessica Radcliffe, 30, despite only meeting her a few weeks earlier.
Dale McLaughlan, 28, was jailed for four weeks for travelling 27 miles across the Irish Sea to meet his partner Jessica Radcliffe, 30, despite only meeting her a few weeks earlier.
WASHINGTON — Republican lawmakers and conservative groups opposed President-elect Joe Biden's forthcoming immigration plan Tuesday as massive amnesty for people in the U.S. illegally, underscoring that the measure faces an uphill fight in a Congress that Democrats control just narrowly. In a further complication, several pro-immigration groups said they would press Biden to go even further and take steps such as immediate moratoriums on deportations, detentions and new arrests. Coupled with the discomfort an immigration push could cause for moderate Democrats, liberals' demands illustrated the pressures facing Biden as four years of President Donald Trump's restrictive and often harsh immigration policies come to an end. “It simply wouldn't have happened without us," Lorella Praeli, co-president of the liberal group Community Change, said of Biden's victory. “So we are now in a powerful position." Biden plans to introduce the legislation shortly after being inaugurated Wednesday, a move he hopes will spotlight his emphasis on an issue that's defied major congressional action since 1986. Its fate, as written, seemed in doubt. Sen. Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., who will become Senate majority leader this week, said Trump's impeachment trial, confirmation of Biden's Cabinet nominees and more COVID-19 relief will be the chamber's top initial priorities. “I look forward to working together with him" on the measure, Schumer said — a choice of words that might suggest changes could be needed for it to pass Congress. Biden's proposal would create an eight-year pathway to citizenship for millions of immigrants, set up a processing program abroad for refugees seeking admission to the U.S. and push toward using technology to monitor the border. The measure was described by an official from Biden's transition team who described the plan on condition of anonymity. With an eye toward discouraging a surge of immigrants toward the U.S.-Mexico boundary, the package's route to citizenship would only apply to people already in the U.S. by this past Jan. 1. But it omits the traditional trade-off of dramatically enhanced border security that's helped attract some GOP support in the past, which drew criticism on Tuesday. “A mass amnesty with no safeguards and no strings attached is a nonstarter,” said Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley, top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee. "There are many issues I think we can work co-operatively with President-elect Biden, but a blanket amnesty for people who are here unlawfully isn’t going to be one of them,” said Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., often a central player in Senate immigration battles. “Total amnesty, no regard for the health or security of Americans, and zero enforcement," Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton, who like Rubio is a potential 2024 GOP presidential contender, said in a Monday tweet. That view was shared by Mark Krikorian, executive director of the conservative Center for Immigration Studies, which favours curbing immigration. “Past proposals at least accepted the concept of turning off the faucet and mopping up the overflow. This is nothing but mopping up and letting the faucet continue to run," Krikorian said. Rosemary Jenks, top lobbyist for NumbersUSA, which also wants to limit immigration, said the measure seems likely to fail in the Senate. It would need at least 10 Republicans to join all 50 Democrats to overcome a filibuster that would kill the measure. Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., said, “Moving an immigration reform bill won’t be easy, but I think it’s possible." He cited a 2013 massive overhaul that narrowly passed the Senate, only to die in the GOP-run House. Menendez and Rubio were part of a bipartisan “Gang of 8" senators that helped win Senate approval. Under Biden's legislation, those living in the U.S. as of Jan. 1, 2021, without legal status would have a five-year path to temporary legal status, or a green card, if they pass background checks, pay taxes and fulfil other requirements. From there, it’s a three-year path to naturalization if they pursue citizenship. For some immigrants, the process would be quicker. So-called Dreamers, the young people who arrived in the U.S. illegally as children, as well as agricultural workers and people under temporary protective status could qualify more immediately for green cards if they are working, are in school or meet other requirements. Biden is also expected to take swift executive actions, which require no congressional action, to reverse other Trump immigration actions. These include ending to the prohibition on arrivals from predominantly Muslim countries. The legislation represents Biden's bid to deliver on a major campaign promise important to Latino voters and other immigrant communities after four years of Trump's restrictive policies and mass deportations. It provides one of the fastest pathways to citizenship for those living without legal status of any measure in recent years. Biden allies and even some Republicans have identified immigration as a major issue where the new administration could find common ground with the GOP to avoid the stalemate that has vexed administrations of both parties for decades. That kind of major win, even if it involves compromise, could be critical for Biden. He'll be seeking legislative victories in a Congress where Republicans are certain to oppose other Biden priorities, like rolling back some of the GOP’s 2017 tax cuts and increasing federal spending. Democrats will control the 50-50 Senate with Vice-President-elect Kamala Harris' tiebreaking vote. Democrats currently control the House 222-211, with two vacancies. ___ Barrow reported from Wilmington, Delaware. AP writer Elliot Spagat in San Diego also contributed to this report. Alan Fram, Lisa Mascaro And Bill Barrow, The Associated Press
CAMEROON, Cameroon — U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres says he intends to invite the rival leaders on Cyprus to an informal meeting “as soon as practicable,” but he warns that this meeting must be different and help clarify “the true extent" of their common vision “and outline steps necessary to chart a way forward.” The U.N. chief also warned in a report to the U.N. Security Council circulated Tuesday that “time is working against a mutually acceptable political settlement in Cyprus.” After decades of status quo, he said, “changes are happening on the ground that may become irreversible, should the two communities not recommit themselves to resolving their differences peacefully, proactively and with determination.” Guterres gave no date for the meeting of Cyprus’ rival Greek and Turkish Cypriot leaders along with the three “guarantors” of the Mediterranean island nation's independence -- Greece, Turkey and Britain. U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters Tuesday that “there’s no date I’m able to share with you.” The Security Council was briefed virtually behind closed doors Tuesday on the latest developments by U.N. special representative Elizabeth Spehar, who heads the U.N. peacekeeping mission in Cyprus. Council diplomats, speaking on condition of anonymity because the briefing and discussions were private, said there was broad support among the 15 members for Guterres’ intention to convene a U.N. meeting at the earliest opportunity. Members also welcomed the positive response of the rival leaders who signalled their agreement to take part with no preconditions, the diplomats said.. Cyprus was divided into a breakaway Turkish Cypriot north and an internationally recognized Greek Cypriot south in 1974 following a Turkish invasion that was triggered by a coup aimed at union with Greece. Numerous rounds of U.N. mediated talks have ended in failure, with the last push for a peace deal in July 2017 ending in acrimony. That meeting also led to an apparent shift by Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots toward seeking a two-state deal rather than pursuing their stated aim of reunifying the country as a federation made up of Greek and Turkish speaking zones. Guterres stressed that “the primary responsibility for the future of the process remains with the parties.” Following consultations over the past months by U.N. envoy Jane Holl Lute, he said both sides and the guarantors have expressed a willingness to attend an informal meeting under his auspices. “The purpose of the meeting will be to determine whether common ground exists for the parties to negotiate a sustainable, lasting solution to the Cyprus problem within a foreseeable horizon,” the secretary-general said. Guterres said the COVID-19 pandemic has widened longstanding fractures within and between the island's two communities. He also pointed to rising tensions in the eastern Mediterranean region over exploration for oil and gas, and delineating maritime boundaries. Guterres called for serious efforts to defuse tensions and urged dialogue to resolve disputes. “I continue to stress that natural resources located in and around Cyprus should benefit both communities and constitute a strong incentive to reach a mutually acceptable settlement in Cyprus without any further delay,” he said. Edith M. Lederer, The Associated Press
SACRAMENTO, Calif. — A California sheriff’s deputy was killed and another deputy was wounded in a shootout with a suspect who gunned down a K-9 dog before he was fatally shot, authorities said. The gunbattle erupted in Sacramento near a racetrack at the Cal Expo event venue after a vehicle pursuit late Monday, Sacramento County Sheriff Scott Jones said. The deputy who died was identified as Adam Gibson, a six-year veteran of the department, Jones said. “He leaves behind a wife and an infant child,” the sheriff said. The injured deputy was in stable condition, Jones said. Jones said the suspect was a man in his 40s but didn't release his name He was identified Tuesday as Robert Stephen Calderon by his mother, Jenny Calderon, who talked to the Sacramento Bee. He had a history of criminal activity, drug use and mental illness, according to his family and court records. Calderon said that her son had been on drugs in the past, and “I think he was bi-polar.” “He saw people coming out of the walls,” she said. “They would come, and they would abuse him. And he was mad at me because he thought I was letting them into his room." Calderon said that led him to get a gun and that she had no idea how he was able to obtain it. “I told him to get rid of it, I told him you have to go get some help, and you have to get rid of that gun,” she said. The pursuit and shooting followed an attempted traffic stop, Jones said, and the driver ended up crashing on the Cal Expo grounds. “One of the K-9 officers deployed a K-9 dog up to the vehicle to try and assist getting the suspect out of the vehicle. The suspect immediately shot and killed the K-9 unit, then immediately started firing at the officers,” Jones said. It wasn’t immediately known what prompted the attempted traffic stop. The Sacramento Police Department plans to handle the investigation, Jones said. Gov. Gavin Newsom offered condolences to the slain deputy's family. “Deputy Gibson will forever be remembered for his selfless sacrifice and his commitment to providing safety and security for the Sacramento community,” Newsom said in a statement. Calderon's family described him as a former truck driver and in-home health services worker who loved animals and had a small pug named Max. They said he was frequently homeless and living in a Chevrolet Suburban, often parking it outside the used clothing store where deputies contacted him Monday night. Calderon cycled in and out of custody for decades, according to court records. He had a combined nine felony and misdemeanour cases out of Sacramento County dating to 1993, Superior Court records show. The cases generally involve drugs and stolen vehicles. His most recent local case, a felony, came in 2012. He was sentenced to 16 months in state prison for vehicle theft. Jenny Calderon broke down several times speaking about her son and what he had done. Speaking in her apartment, Calderon said she was mourning not only her son, but especially the fallen deputy and his family. “I’m glad he’s dead because if he knew what he had done to that deputy’s family, he wouldn’t be able to live with himself,” she said. The Associated Press
Edmontonians are cleaning up after a snow squall brought powerful winds to the city Tuesday night, knocking out power to thousands of homes and creating whiteout conditions on local highways. An Epcor spokesperson told CBC News that about 5,000 customers had lost power due to high winds Tuesday and repair crews were expected to work through the night. As of Wednesday morning, about 200 customers remained in the dark in neighbourhoods across the city. A wind warning remained in effect for the city and several surrounding communities. Strong winds, with gusts near 90 km/h, are expected to continue through Wednesday afternoon. Environment Canada is warning of possible damage to buildings and flying debris before the winds begin to weaken this evening. After weeks of mild weather, the squall hit Tuesday night. The winds picked up around 8:30 p.m., ripping off shingles and downing trees. The sudden, violent gusts of wind reached up to 90 km/h. Drivers were urged to avoid local highways as blasts of blowing snow created near zero visibility. While some hunkered down, many Edmontonians put their face to the storm and took to social media. Some surveyed damage to their properties. Others watched the howling winds from behind rattling windows or from shaking balconies. Tree branches broke. Trampolines were toppled. One young hockey player used the wind to send him gently careening across the ice. Another took to a nearby parking lot to capture a ballet of shopping carts dancing across the icy pavement. 'Everything went black' Mike Henkemans was at his mother's house in the Westmount neighbourhood when there was sickening crash outside that sent the house rattling. "The wind was so crazy and loud and the snow was blowing sideways," Henkemans said. "Then everything went black." A 14-metre tall spruce tree in the backyard had toppled, hitting the roof and a second storey balcony before crashing into a pergola and a barbecue before coming to rest on the ground floor deck. The tree snapped the power lines and the live wires remained dangling. "It just smashed everything," he said. "It was terrifying. It was really scary. I didn't know what was happening." "The power lines are snapped and all over the garage. You can see them dangling." Henkemans said he called Epcor, his insurance company and an arborist for help with the clean-up. A neighbour allowed them to run an extension cord over the property line so they could run a space heater as they waited for the power to be reconnected. "It was a long night," Henkemans said. Edmonton was not alone in experiencing the intense wind. Wind warnings were in effect for much of the province, including the Edmonton region, Jasper, Whitecourt, Okotoks, Olds, Rocky Mountain House and Banff National Park. Snow squall warnings were also issued for Edmonton, as well as other parts of central and northern Alberta including Ponoka County, Leduc County, Drayton Valley and Lloydminster. A snow squall is a brief but powerful storm characterized by strong winds and blowing snow. 'Like a bomb hit my house' Giselle Denis was playing board games with her children when the lights went dark in her home south of Sherwood Park. Moments later, with the wind howling, there was a loud crash. "It sounded like a bomb hit my house," she said. "I have never heard something like that. It was so loud. " The force of the wind had sent a tree toppling. A large branch had smashed through the window of a basement bedroom. "The floor was just covered in glass. It broke the metal and wood frame of the window and the tree was like in the house," Denis said. "It's a full tree." Denis expects insurance will cover the damage but it was a long sleepless night. She spent several hours cleaning up in the dark. "It's hard to go to sleep after that and I think the adrenaline is still pumping through my body." The damaged room used to serve as her son's bedroom but now stores her paintings. Her son's bedroom is next door. She feels thankful no one was hurt. "One more inch to the left and it could have been disastrous," she said. The Edmonton Police Service issued a traffic advisory around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday advising motorists to avoid a section Calgary Trail where three tractor-trailers rolled over as a result of strong winds. No injuries were reported in the rollovers, EPS said. There are also numerous traffic advisories for other parts of the province affected by the wind and snow.
DENPASAR, Indonesia — An American graphic designer is being deported from the Indonesian resort island of Bali over her viral tweets that celebrated it as a low-cost, queer-friendly place for foreigners to live. Kristen Antoinette Gray arrived in Bali in January 2020 and wound up staying through the coronavirus pandemic. Her posts on Twitter, including comparisons between Bali and Los Angeles and links to buy her e-book, began going viral in Indonesia on Sunday. “This island has been amazing because of our elevated lifestyle at much lower cost of living. I was paying $1,300 for my LA studio. Now I have a treehouse for $400,” one of Gray’s posts on Twitter said. Gray’s posts were considered to have “disseminated information disturbing to the public,” which was the basis for her deportation, said Jamaruli Manihuruk, chief of the Bali regional office for the Ministry of Law and Human Rights. A statement from the office cited her descriptions of Bali providing comfort for LGBT and being easily accessible during the pandemic. It also referenced tweets with links to her e-book, which had direct links to agents who could help foreigners move to the island. “She stated that she could provide easy access to Bali through the recommended agency and offered the low living costs in Bali, that it is comfortable and LGBTQ-friendly,” Manihuruk said at a news conference Tuesday. Her tweets also referenced her e-book costing $30 and a follow-up consultation about becoming an expatriate in Bali for $50. “She is suspected of carrying out business activities by selling e-books and put a rate for consulting (about) Bali tourism,” Manihuruk said. Many Indonesian social media users were furious that she was showing off living and working in Bali without a proper business visa. “I am not guilty. I have not overstayed my (tourist) visa. I am not making money in Indonesian rupiah. I put out a statement about LGBT and I am deported because of LGBT,” Gray told reporters after Immigration officials announced the deportation. Indonesia has temporarily restricted foreigners from coming to the country since Jan. 1 to control the spread of COVID-19, and public activities have been restricted on Java and Bali islands. “The Bali Regional Office of the Ministry of Law and Human Rights urges foreign nationals to comply with the current COVID-19 pandemic to comply with health protocols and to follow right procedures regarding visa processing and while in Indonesia,” Manihuruk said. Gray and her partner, Saundra Michelle Alexander, are currently in immigration detention while waiting for a flight to the United States. Firdia Lisnawati, The Associated Press
WASHINGTON — Troops in riot gear lined the sidewalks, but there were no crowds. Armored vehicles and concrete barriers blocked empty streets. Miles of fencing cordoned off many of the nation's most familiar landmarks. Joe Biden was safely sworn in as president in a Washington on edge, two weeks after rioters loyal to former President Donald Trump besieged the Capitol. Law enforcement officials contended not only with the potential for outside threats but also with rising concerns about an insider attack. Officials monitored members of far-right extremist and militia groups, increasingly concerned about the risk they could stream into Washington and spark violent confrontations, a law enforcement official said. There were a few scattered arrests but no major protests or serious disruptions in the city during Biden's inauguration ceremony. As Biden put it in his address: “Here we stand just days after a riotous mob thought they could use violence to silence the will of the people, to stop the work of our democracy, to drive us from this sacred ground. It did not happen. It will never happen, not today, not tomorrow, not ever. Not ever.” After the deadly attack that killed five on Jan. 6, the Secret Service stepped up security for the inauguration early, essentially locking down the nation's capital. More than 25,000 troops and police were called to duty. The National Mall was closed. Checkpoints were set up at intersections. In the hours before the event, federal agents monitored “concerning online chatter,” which included an array of threats against elected officials and discussions about ways to infiltrate the inauguration, the official said. In right-wing online chat groups, believers in the QAnon conspiracy theory expressed disappointment that top Democrats were not arrested for sex trafficking and that Trump did not seize a second term. Twelve National Guard members were removed from the security operation a day earlier after vetting by the FBI, including two who had made extremist statements in posts or texts about Wednesday's event. Pentagon officials would not give details on the statements. The FBI vetted all 25,000 members in an extraordinary security effort in part over the presence of some ex-military in the riot. Two other U.S. officials told The Associated Press that all 12 were found to have ties with right-wing militia groups or to have posted extremist views online. The officials, a senior intelligence official and an Army official briefed on the matter, did not say which fringe groups the Guard members belonged to or what unit they served in. The officials told the AP they had all been removed because of “security liabilities.” The officials were not authorized to speak publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Gen. Daniel Hokanson, chief of the National Guard Bureau, confirmed that Guard members had been removed and sent home, but said only two cases were related to inappropriate comments or texts related to the inauguration. He said the other 10 cases were for issues that may involve previous criminal behaviour or activities but were not directly related to the inaugural event. The FBI also warned law enforcement officials about the possibility that members of right-wing fringe groups could pose as National Guard troops, according to two law enforcement officials familiar with the matter. Investigators in Washington were particularly worried that members of right-wing extremist groups and militias, like the Oath Keepers and Three Percenters, would descend on Washington to spark violence, the law enforcement officials said. Some of the groups are known to recruit former military personnel, to train extensively and to have frequented anti-government and political protests. In addition to the thousands of National Guard troops, hundreds of law enforcement officers from agencies around the country were also brought into Washington. The increased security is likely to remain in the nation's capital for at least a few more days. ___ Associated Press writers Lolita Baldor in Washington and James LaPorta in Delray Beach, Florida, contributed to this report. Ben Fox, Colleen Long And Michael Balsamo, The Associated Press
The United States swore in its 46th President on Jan. 20, 2021. President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris attended their inauguration in Washington, D.C. with a slew of distinguished guests, but few onlookers as the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a need for social distancing.Several past presidents were in attendance, including Barack Obama, Bill Clinton and George Bush Jr., however the 45th President of the United States, Donald Trump, did not attend. Trump flew to his golf club in Florida earlier in the day. Outgoing Vice President Mike Pence did attend the ceremony with his wife.For all the latest on the U.S. inauguration, click this link for live updates.
EDMONTON — Alberta’s chief medical officer of health says residents in long-term care and supportive living facilities will remain the priority as the province grapples with a looming slowdown in COVID-19 vaccine supply. Dr. Deena Hinshaw says health officials may also have to rebook vaccination appointments for those getting the required second dose. Hinshaw made the announcement just hours after the federal government said there will be no shipments of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine next week and reduced shipments for about three weeks after that. The slowdown is due to Pfizer retrofitting its Belgium-based plant in order to ramp up production down the road. Hinshaw says Alberta has 456 new cases of COVID-19, with 740 patients in hospital. There are 119 patients in intensive care and 1,463 people have died. “This is frustrating, but the factory issues in Belgium are out of our control," Health Minister Tyler Shandro said in a release Tuesday. "We will continue to use what we have to protect as many Albertans as possible. And we will continue to inform Albertans of any changes to our vaccination plans.” Alberta recently finished giving first doses of vaccine to all residents in its 357 long-term care and supportive living facilities. “These are absolutely the highest-risk locations, and people who live in these facilities are the most vulnerable to severe outcomes,” Hinshaw told a virtual news conference. “Two-thirds of all our (COVID-19) deaths have been in long-term care and supportive living facilities.” Alberta has given 90,000 first doses of the Moderna and Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines to those in the high priority cohort: those in the care homes and front-line health-care workers. Canada was to get more than 417,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine this week and next, but will now get just over 171,000 this week and nothing the following week. Both vaccines require two doses weeks apart for full effectiveness. The delay has also forced the province to put off implementing the next phase of priority cases: Indigenous seniors over 65 and other seniors 75 and older. Alberta remains under strict lockdown measures, which include a ban on indoor gatherings. Bars, restaurants and lounges can offer takeout or pickup service only. Retailers are limited to 15 per cent customer capacity, while entertainment venues like casinos and movie theatres remain shuttered. The province relaxed some measure slightly on Monday. Outdoor gatherings can have 10 people maximum. Personal care services, like hair salons, manicure and pedicure salons and tattoo shops, can open by appointment only. Hinshaw said it’s not clear when further restrictions can be lifted. “Our health system is still under severe strain,” she said. “This continues to impact our ability to deliver care, not only for COVID-19 but all the other health needs Albertans have.” There were 11,096 active COVID cases Tuesday, about half the number recorded at its peak in mid-December. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021. Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press
A city councillor in Revelstoke is on leave after allegations of sexual assault against a minor at a school in Langley seven years ago. A lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court on Monday alleges that in the spring of 2014 Cody Younker volunteered to be a chaperone at Walnut Grove High School in Langley. Younker, who lived in Langley at the time, volunteered with a program called Harrison Hike Experience that led Grade 10 students on overnight and day hikes. The notice of civil claim states Younker met a 15-year-old student who was struggling with mental health issues and had suicidal thoughts. It's alleged Younker asked for the teen's phone number after the third group hike and began texting her immediately. He offered to help her with her homework and started to pick her up from school, according to the notice of claim. Not long after, the alleged sexual assault took place. The teen reported the alleged assault to the school board and Langley RCMP, which conducted two investigations, but charges were never laid. Dan McLaughlin, spokesperson for the B.C. Prosecution Service, said in an email to the CBC that the matter was submitted to Crown prosecutors twice — once in 2014 and again in 2019. "After reviewing, the file charges were not approved as the B.C. Prosecution Service concluded the charge assessment standard for proceeding with criminal charges was not met," he wrote. The Langley School District and an employee are also named as defendants in the lawsuit. The alleged victim, who is now 22, says a school board employee interviewed her at home shortly after she reported the matter, but the woman defended Younker and accused the teen of lying. The school district said in a statement it is aware of the lawsuit, and is looking into the allegations. Younker moved to Revelstoke in 2015 and was elected to city council two years ago. He is now on a leave of absence. Younker has not yet responded to the allegations and they have not been tested in court.
OLYMPIA, Wash. — Officials in Washington state denied a key permit for a large proposed methanol plant Tuesday, saying the project that aims to send the chemical to China to be used in everything from fabrics and contact lenses to iPhones and medical equipment would pump out too much pollution. A significant increase in greenhouse gas emissions and inconsistencies with the Shoreline Management Act were the main reasons the permit was rejected for the project planned on the Columbia River, the state Department of Ecology said in a news release. The $2 billion Northwest Innovation Works plant proposed in Kalama would take natural gas from Canada and convert it into methanol. It would then be shipped to China to make olefins — compounds used in many everyday products. An environmental analysis done by the state agency found that the facility would be one of the largest sources of carbon pollution in Washington, emitting nearly 1 million metric tons a year within the state, and millions of tons more from extracting natural gas, shipping the product to Asia and final uses of the methanol, officials said. “I believe we were left with no other choice than to deny the permit for the Kalama project," Ecology Director Laura Watson said in a written statement. "The known and verifiable emissions from the facility would be extremely large and their effects on Washington’s environment would be significant and detrimental.” The Department of Ecology last year had demanded additional environmental analysis, saying after five years of planning, its backers had failed to provide enough information about the greenhouse gas emissions and how they would be offset. The company has 21 days to appeal the permit decision. “While we are disappointed by this ruling and evaluating our options for an immediate appeal, we feel confident that science and reason will prevail,” Kent Caputo, attorney for Northwest Innovation Works, said in a news release. The company is backed by the Chinese government and has said the project will create 1,000 jobs and generate up to $40 million in annual tax revenue. The company also has said it would offset any emissions produced directly or indirectly in Washington state. “We volunteered to set mitigation standards that will make Washington state the national leader,” Northwest Innovation Works CEO Simon Zhang said in the news release. “We want to create a model project for Kalama, the state, and the nation.” Gov. Jay Inslee, who once backed the project as a boost to the economy, changed his stance in May 2019 as he signed a bill banning fracking, The Seattle Times reported. Inslee said at the time that he couldn't in good conscience support the methanol plant, along with a Tacoma liquified natural gas project, because they wouldn't accomplish what's necessary to combat climate change. He also said the withdrawal of his support would not affect the regulatory decision-making process. Conservation groups, including Columbia Riverkeeper, the Sierra Club and the Center for Biological Diversity, have been steadfast in their opposition. “We can’t keep pretending these dirty fossil fuel projects don’t jeopardize our continued existence by accelerating the climate crisis and destroying essential habitat," Jared Margolis, an attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity, said in a news release. "Thankfully, Washington has stepped up and rejected this monstrosity.” The Associated Press
CALGARY — A Crown prosecutor says he will seek an adult sentence for an accused teen if he is convicted in a Calgary police officer's death.Doug Taylor made the comment at the start of a bail hearing Tuesday for the 18-year-old suspect.The accused was 17 when he was charged earlier this month with first-degree murder in the death of Sgt. Andrew Harnett, so he cannot be named under the Youth Criminal Justice Act.Harnett was hit and dragged while attempting to stop an SUV on New Year's Eve, after noticing plates on the vehicle did not match its registered description. Paramedics and fellow officers hastened to the scene in minutes and tried to revive the 37-year-old but he died in hospital nearly an hour later. Police said a second unrelated vehicle was also involved and may have come into contact with Harnett on the road. But that driver stayed at the scene and helped with the investigation.Investigators allege the youth was driving the SUV and a 19-year-old, who also faces a charge of first-degree murder, was a passenger."I, of course on behalf of the attorney general, have just filed a notice of intention by the attorney general to apply for an adult sentence," Taylor told court.An adult sentence for a young offender convicted of first-degree murder is life in prison with no parole eligibility for 10 years. Under the Canadian Criminal Code, an adult convicted of first-degree murder would serve a life sentence without any possibility of parole for 25 years.Taylor said the Crown is also opposing the young man's release from custody.A publication ban prohibits publishing evidence from the bail hearing, which is to continue Wednesday.The co-accused in the case, Amir Abdulrahman is to appear in court Feb. 4. His lawyer, Balfour Der, has said he intends to seek bail on Feb. 12.Court documents indicate that, at the time Harnett was killed, Adbulrahman was wanted on outstanding warrants on several charges, including assault and failing to appear in court.This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021— Follow @BillGraveland on Twitter Bill Graveland, The Canadian Press
Global equity benchmarks rose to new record highs and oil prices rose on Wednesday as investors moved into riskier assets in anticipation of further U.S. stimulus under the new Biden administration to mend the economic damage of the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. President Joe Biden, who was sworn into office on Wednesday, last week laid out a $1.9 trillion stimulus package proposal to boost the economy and speed up the distribution of vaccines. U.S. Treasury Secretary nominee Janet Yellen urged lawmakers to "act big" to save the economy and worry about debt later at a confirmation hearing Tuesday.
CALGARY — A lawyer for a rancher trying to get a judge to force the Alberta government to reconsider its decision to throw out a policy that protected the Rocky Mountains from coal mines says his client wants to be treated fairly."What my clients are seeking is not to be left out in the cold," Richard Harrison told a Court of Queen's Bench judge Tuesday at a hearing to decide whether a judicial review into the move should go ahead.The United Conservative government is trying to persuade Justice Richard Neufeld to throw out the application for the review. Melissa Burkett, a lawyer for the province, said it's a matter for elected officials, not judges. "This case is not about an unlawful exercise of government power," she argued earlier Tuesday. "This case is about the government's ability to create and dictate policy based on economic, social, political and other relevant factors."Southern Alberta ranchers and area First Nations are attacking the government's decision to revoke a coal policy from 1976 that blocked development on some parts of the eastern slopes of the Rockies and tightly restricted it elsewhere. The policy was quietly revoked without consultation by Energy Minister Sonya Savage last May.Burkett, saying there is nothing to review, argued the policy was not rooted in legislation or regulation. "The adaptation and any amendment of the coal policy is exclusively under the mandate of the minister of energy," she said.Allowing a review would wrongly tie governments to the decisions of their predecessors, she added.Burkett said the policy had become obsolete given the development of Alberta's energy review bodies and laws. Overturning the policy has "no practical impact" because agencies such as the Alberta Energy Regulator now exist, she said And because those oversights now exist, revoking the policy hasn't violated the rights of those seeking the review, Burkett said.Her colleague, Andrea Simmonds, disputed the ranchers' arguments that requirements for public consultation exist in land-use law and in regional plans.She said the Alberta Land Stewardship Act doesn't allow for judicial review of decisions made under its purview. Regional plans "have no legal status," she said.Harrison argued that the coal policy, far from obsolete, was being used to judge mine proposals right up until the minister revoked it. He emphasized that one coal mine proposal calls for infrastructure right through the middle of his client's grazing lease and would intrude nearly to the doorstep of a cabin that's been in his family for a century.Simple fairness should have required the government to at least talk to him before its decision."Whether consultation, a hearing, a phone call, they want any kind of procedural fairness that reflects the impact it is going to have. "I cannot think of a more detrimental impact than an open-pit coal mine."Harrison argued the land stewardship act does require consultation. He noted that it says property rights should not be infringed on without due process. "(The act) was amended for the express purpose of inserting consultation requirements."He disagreed that regional plans have no legal force and pointed out they have been incorporated into the legally enforceable South Saskatchewan Regional Plan. Earlier Tuesday, ranchers and First Nations who filed separate requests for the review agreed to have their arguments heard together. The Bearspaw, Kainai, Siksika, Blood, Ermineskin and Goodfish Lake First Nations kept the right to bring separate constitutional arguments, which are not part of the application filed by rancher Macleay Blades. The hearing is to last through Wednesday.Popular Alberta entertainment figures, including Corb Lund and Jann Arden, have strongly opposed the decision. Petitions against it have gathered more than 100,000 signatures.On Monday, Savage announced in a news release that the recent sale of 11 coal leases would be cancelled and that no more would be sold on land where open-pit mines were forbidden under the old policy.She did not provide any more details, promise any consultation or offer to reconsider the decision on the 1976 policy.Environmental groups point out the 11 leases represented a tiny fraction of the leases sold since the policy was quashed. At least eight provincial recreation areas are either completely or largely surrounded by coal exploration leases. This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 19, 2021.— By Bob Weber in Edmonton. Follow @row1960 on Twitter The Canadian Press
Calgary teen Max Ganakovsky performed a history-making stunt at the Airdrie Airpark in August when he did the longest manual — similar to a "wheelie" — ever recorded. Now, he's had the feat recognized by Guinness World Records. "It feels surreal. Being a Guinness World Record holder has always been one of my dreams," Ganakovsky told the Calgary Homestretch. "And it feels great to have this dream come true." A manual is the correct term for the trick. It's pretty similar to a wheelie, but with no extra pedalling allowed. In a wheelie, the rider can continue to pedal for that extra propulsion. Ganakovsky managed to pull this off for 648 metres — that's nearly double the previous record of 339 metres. He says it's all in the technique. WATCH | Ganakovsky nearly doubled the record in his attempt to get in the Guinness World Records book. Watch his epic 'manual' in the video above. "Before you take off, it's very crucial to get a lot of speed," Ganakovsky said. "During my attempt, I think I accelerated for about 100 metres prior to lifting my front wheel off the ground. So firstly, the acceleration phase was very crucial. And it's also very important to take off, like pick up your front wheel on the right note so you're not crooked. So everything is centred. And yes, from there it's kind of autopilot. Just make sure to keep balance and, yeah, just not much to it, really." Actually, based on the description, it sounds like there is a bit of skill and practice involved. "It's obviously hard work. It's not something you do on the first try, and it took many years to master, but when you master, it's actually very enjoyable." The BMX racer, who trains with Calgary BMX, says doing manuals is part of his sport. "This manual skill is kind of very important for my sport, and I always do it every day when it's nice weather," he said. "I go outside on my bike and do manuals every day. It has been a skill that I had for a long time and I just wanted to really showcase it to the world and prove that I'm actually good at it." The plan was derailed in June, when Ganakovsky had a training accident that took him out of commission for two months. "I originally was planning to do this in April, and that's when I applied for the record, and the plan was to train with as much knowledge as I had before I got the instructions from Guinness, to attempt it in June. But in June, I had an accident in training and I broke my collarbone in three pieces," Ganakovsky said. After surgery and recovery time, Ganakovsky started training again in August. He made his record attempt on Aug. 27, on the runway at the Airdrie Airpark. Global Raymac Surveys measured the distance, and both Calgary BMX and B-Line Indoor Bike Park were on hand to help out and witness the event. "Obviously, when you have a skill like this, it doesn't fully go away, but it was certainly a struggle to get back to it after taking so much time off," he said. "And I'm happy that I was able to bounce back from this injury and, yeah, and do my world record." After the successful attempt, slow motion video analysis showed the following details: Pedalling cadence prior to crossing the starting line: 158 r.p.m. Take-off speed prior to crossing starting line while performing manual: 55.4 km/h Time from start to finish: 1 min. 53.2 sec. Long term, Ganakovsky would like to compete at the Olympics as a BMX racer. "My whole reasoning behind this world record attempt was to firstly prove myself to the world, what I'm capable of, but also it's a mini milestone in a big journey that I want to have in BMX racing in the long term," he said. "I want to go to the Olympics and represent Canada at the highest stage. And, you know, this record was also very important to me because I really wanted to help my club out and give them the support they need in order to become a world class club. And yeah, I think this record did just that." With files from The Homestretch.
Municipal leaders in Cap-Pelé are concerned about a misconception that COVID-19 cases have been occurring only in Moncton, and are working to dispel that notion. “We know that there have been cases in our community,” said Justin LeBlanc, director of events and communications for the village of Cap-Pelé. But because the term 'Moncton zone', 'Moncton region' or similar is used to describe Zone 1, there are people who genuinely do not believe that cases occurred in the surrounding communities, LeBlanc said. Village staff have heard residents calling into radio shows indicating these views and are concerned they may be more widely held, LeBlanc said, especially by those who are upset they have to abide restrictions they don't believe are warranted for the area in which they live. “Definitely with the airport being located in [Metro] Moncton and a lot of cases related to travel, people may think the cases stay in Moncton, but we are very connected to Moncton also,” LeBlanc said. While residents of Cap-Pelé and surrounding areas may use the same airport occasionally, hundreds of people who live in Cap-Pelé also work and shop every day in Metro Moncton, he said. Referring to the zone as the “Southeast zone” would be more inclusive for those in the communities outside Moncton, he said, and could help alleviate the problem. For now, the town is doing everything it can to make this information clear by word of mouth, social media and news releases, LeBlanc said. The town was made aware of community residents who tested positive by the residents themselves, LeBlanc said. Public Health does not release this information, citing confidentiality. While the town has seen compliance with pandemic measures, there are concerns the wording of the zones may be giving some a false sense of security, he said. Zone 1 encompasses a large area, LeBlanc said. In addition to Moncton, it also includes Dieppe, Riverview, Salisbury, Petitcodiac, the Harcourt area, Port Elgin area, Rockport, Sackville, Dorchester, Shediac, Beaubassin-Est, Cap-Pelé, Saint-Antoine, Grande-Digue, Cocagne, Bouchtouche, Richibucto, Saint-Louis-de-Kent area, Coverdale, Hillsborough, Riverside-Albert, Alma and every community in between. On Thursday, Dr. Jennifer Russell, the province's Chief Medical Officer of Health, referred to the zone as “Moncton and southeast New Brunswick” during the COVID-19 briefing. When asked by Times & Transcript if the use of “Moncton and southeast New Brunswick” was going to be used from now on to dispel the misconception that cases are not occurring outside the largest city, Russell pointed to the department’s website which lists communities in each health zone. Russell also reiterated Public Health has no plans to name smaller communities where there are positive cases. The decision not to go further than the health region in naming where cases occur is largely to protect people’s confidentiality, she said. But she said it is also because they believe it may be too late to serve a purpose. “By the time we announce a case in a particular area, the virus has probably been circulating for seven days prior to that,” she said, repeating that she wants people to behave as if they and those they are with have COVID-19 all the time. Clara Pasieka, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Telegraph-Journal
MILLBROOK -- Millbrook’s 4th Line Theatre will launch its Digital Festival of Light and Dark next week. Micro-grants have been provided to 13 regional artists by the festival so they can create 12 five-minute digital showcases of their work, the theatre announced Tuesday. The digital festival is free-of-charge to watch online and will allow people to engage with the artists’ creations in the safety of their own homes during the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown through the theatre’s digital video gallery. Managing artistic director Kim Blackwell said the theatre — which had to cancel last summer’s performances and then staged the Open Spaces Theatre Festival in downtown Peterborough in September followed by a limited run of “Bedtime Stories and Other Horrifying Tales” prior to Halloween at the theatre in October — wants to support local artists. “That was the genesis for the idea which ultimately became the Digital Festival of Light and Dark. I am excited to showcase the work of so many talented local artists from almost every conceivable discipline,” Blackwell said. “These short, digital works will be a chance for 4th Line audiences to see the depth and breadth of regional artists and their creative worlds.” A variety of artistic styles such as poetry, photography and puppetry are manifested in the artists’ projects. Topics and issues explored include the new silent nightlife in downtown Peterborough in lockdown, an exploration of physical vulnerability in the pandemic and the story of a girl trapped alone in a Welsh mine, to name only three, according to the theatre. The 12 artists include Madison Constello, Naomi Duvall, Jennifer Elchuk, Josh Fewings, Madison Sheward, Frank Flynn, Steafan Hannigan, Mike Moring, Tristan Peirce, Kelsey Powell, Benj Rowland, P.J. Thomas and Laura Thompson. In Hannigan’s multimedia project titled “the many shades between light and dark: art v COVID-19 in 2020,” artists, performers, musicians and directors reflect upon their life-changing experiences during the past year amid the global pandemic. Hannigan is a multidisciplinary artist working in a variety of mediums including photography, video and music. Born and raised in Ireland, he currently lives in Baltimore in Northumberland County. Peirce’s project, “Night Shift,” gives viewers a glimpse into Peterborough’s night life during the COVID-19 pandemic. Pierce is a photographer and videographer, based in Peterborough, who is also taking part in the Art Gallery of Peterborough’s group exhibition Presently. “It’s Political,” a project created by Thompson — a designer based in Peterborough whose video work draws on found footage to create moving collages that are surreal and dynamic — explores the women’s movement and its evolution, history and future. The 12 projects will be posted at www.4thlinetheatre.on.ca/festival-of-light-and-dark and at www.youtube.com/user/4thlinetheatreVIDEO starting at noon on Monday. Marissa Lentz is a staff reporter at the Examiner, based in Peterborough. Her reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach her via email: email@example.com Marissa Lentz, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner
LANSING, Mich. — Attorneys for former Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder are striking back, telling prosecutors Tuesday that the Flint water case should be dismissed because he was charged in the wrong county. Snyder was charged last week with two misdemeanour counts of wilful neglect of duty. He was indicted by a Genesee County judge who sat as a grand juror and considered evidence presented by prosecutors. “Neither of these allegations of non-feasance, or failure to act, occurred while the former Governor was in the City of Flint. At all times set forth in the Indictment, our client was the presiding governor of the State of Michigan with the Executive Office of the Governor located at the Romney Building in downtown Lansing,” attorney Brian Lennon said in a letter to prosecutors. The letter was attached to a request for documents and other evidence possessed by prosecutors, a typical step by the defence in a criminal case. Lennon indicated in the letter that he soon would formally ask Judge William Crawford to dismiss the case against the Republican former governor. A hearing took place Tuesday in Snyder’s case. The next hearing was scheduled for Feb. 23. “The reason we didn't file a motion to dismiss is we're trying to give the government an opportunity to recognize this mistake and voluntarily dismiss the indictment against Gov. Snyder,” Lennon told the judge. Assistant Attorney General Bryant Osikowicz sought time to see and respond to the pending dismissal motion. A spokeswoman for the attorney general's office declined to comment on the venue issue. Snyder was one of nine people charged in a new investigation of the Flint water crisis, including former state health department director Nick Lyon. The catastrophe in the impoverished, majority-Black city has been described as an example of environmental injustice and racism. The city, under Snyder-appointed emergency managers, used the Flint River for drinking water in 2014-15 without properly treating it to reduce corrosion. Lead from old pipes contaminated the system. Separately, the water was blamed by some experts for an outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease, which killed at least 12 people in the area and sickened dozens more. Lyon and former state chief medical executive Eden Wells face nine counts of involuntary manslaughter. Snyder's lawyer said the defence will soon seek grand jury records. It also wants potentially millions of documents and hundreds of electronic devices that were seized, and to know if steps were taken to ensure investigators did not have access to attorney-client communications or other privileged materials. “If a taint team was not used, it challenges and could undermine the integrity of the entire investigation against Gov. Snyder and others,” Lennon said. As it did during the old criminal probe, the state will cover the legal expenses of former state officers and employees who face charges. But in a change, Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer's administration will cap costs. The maximum hourly rate for attorneys cannot exceed $225. Some lawyers were paid two to three times that previously. The state also will impose a “ceiling” of $175,000 for a defendant's legal services before and during a trial, which can only be raised if a contract administrator recommends it. The goals are to ensure consistent treatment across the defendants' former departments and to control costs to ensure accountability, the governor's office said. Jim Haveman, a former state health director who supports Lyon, criticized the new policy. Legal fees and expenses in the first case against Lyon totalled $1.6 million over 19 months, he said. In 2019, prosecutors working under a new attorney general, Dana Nessel, dismissed charges against Lyon and seven other people and began a new probe. In an email, Haveman called on Whitmer and lawmakers to “correct this capping injustice and to assure all defendants have the best defence possible.” ___ White reported from Detroit. Ed White And David Eggert, The Associated Press
Deng Pravatoudom played the Lotto Max numbers her husband dreamt of 20 years ago and won a $60M jackpot. Video by Shibani Gokhale
WASHINGTON — In one of his final acts as majority leader, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell is pressuring Democrats to keep the filibuster — the procedural tool that liberals and progressives are eager to to do away with so President-elect Joe Biden's legislative priorities can be approved more easily over GOP opposition. McConnell has told Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer that retaining the legislative filibuster is important and should be part of their negotiations for a power-sharing agreement in the narrowly divided Senate. Schumer and McConnell met Tuesday to begin hammering out the details of organizing the chamber, which will be split 50-50, with Democrats holding the majority once three new senators are sworn in Wednesday and Kamala Harris is inaugurated as the vice-president. “Leader McConnell expressed his long-held view that the crucial, longstanding and bipartisan Senate rules concerning the legislative filibuster remain intact, specifically during the power share for the next two years,” McConnell spokesman Doug Andres said. Andres said discussions on “all aspects” of the arrangement will continue. Normally, a divided chamber would produce a resolution to equally share committee seats and other resources. But McConnell is driving a harder bargain by inserting his demand that Schumer keep the filibuster procedure in place. Schumer’s office did not respond immediately for comment. The Democratic leader faces pressure from the progressive flank to end the filibuster, but he has not committed to doing so. The group Fix Our Senate criticized McConnell for trying to prevent procedural changes. The group said in a statement that McConnell wants to keep the filibuster because he knows it is “the best weapon he has” to prevent Democrats from delivering on Biden's priorities. "Senate Democrats must swat away this absurd attempt to undermine their majority and kneecap the Biden agenda before it even has a chance to get started,” the group said in a statement. The modern filibuster rules essentially require a super-majority threshold, now at 60 votes, to cut off debate in the Senate and bring legislative bills or other measures to a vote. The practice was changed as a way to wind down long-running speeches and debates, notably during the start of World War I, but quickly became a tool employed by minority factions to halt legislation that had majority support. McConnell gutted the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees in 2017, a breathtaking move that enabled the Senate to easily confirm the first of three justices that President Donald Trump nominated to the high court with simple majority votes. It's unclear the Democrats would even have support from their ranks to undo the legislative filibuster, which would require a vote in the Senate. But McConnell is not willing to take any chances and is forcing Schumer into a negotiation that could delay organizing the Senate. The Republican leader has also been talking privately with Republican senators about the importance to resolving the issue now, as part of the power-sharing talks with Democrats. McConnell sent an email Monday to senators outlining his concerns, as first reported by National Review. Without agreement on this and other matters, the Democrats' ability to control committees and other aspects of Senate business may also be delayed as talks between McConnell and Schumer drag on. Lisa Mascaro, The Associated Press
Saskatchewan will run out of COVID-19 vaccine "over the course of the next few days," says Premier Scott Moe. During a press conference on Tuesday, the premier said the province has gone through 15,000 doses in the past week. About 84 per cent of the province's 24,400 doses have been administered, and new supplies coming in are not enough to replenish what has already been used. At this time, the shortage should not have an impact on those requiring a second dose said Dr. Saqib Shahab, the province's chief medical health officer, as it's believed second doses can be administered up to 42 days after the first and still be effective. On Tuesday, it was reported that Canada won't be getting any of Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine next week because of a production slowdown, resulting in fewer doses for provinces. WATCH | Trudeau on vaccine supply challenges in the first three months of 2021: According to the Saskatchewan government, 2,925 doses will arrive next week, but it's not what officials expected. "Over the next four weeks we are now expecting about 17,500 doses from Pfizer, and that is rather than the 37,000 we were expecting to receive," Moe said. "We did almost that many shots this past week alone." Light a firecracker under Pfizer execs: premiers Moe is calling on the federal government to provide "reliable information" on when vaccines are coming in. "We are short of vaccines at every location in Saskatchewan we are providing them," Moe said, adding that the government will revise its vaccine rollout in the weeks ahead. "We need the federal government to pick up the pace of their vaccine delivery in the weeks ahead, and pick up their negotiations and discussions with Pfizer in particular." WATCH | Moe says premiers would line up with lighters to ignite a firecracker under Pfizer execs: Moe also echoed a commentmade by Ontario Premier Doug Ford on Tuesday, in which Ford expressed frustration with Pfizer executives. "If I was in [Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's] shoes ... I'd be on that phone call every single day. I'd be up that guy's yin-yang so far with a firecracker he wouldn't know what hit him," the Ontario premier said of Pfizer's executives. "I would just say that … if the prime minister is able to do that, there would be a lineup of premiers behind that would bring a lighter to that party," Moe said.